Write a 4 page essay on Brown vs. Board of Education.
In issuing the verdict on May 17, 1954, the Court set aside the ruling in Plessy v Ferguson 163 U.S. 537 (1896), which had permitted states to segregate the education system within their jurisdiction provided there were similar facilities in black and white schools. Led by Chief Justice Earl Warren, the Court noted that “separate but equal” policy had actually triggered massive inequality in the US’s education system (Rose 325). The decision essentially triggered a flurry of reactions by the supportive civil rights movement and was attributed to the significant integration of education in the United States around the mid-20th century.
In 1896, a similar case had reached the Supreme Court, but one which legitimized segregation based on the “separate but equal” principle. In Plessy v. Ferguson, the majority decision led by Justice Brown held that the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution was clearly categorical that an ideal system should be one in which all communities are guaranteed equal protection in separate institutions (Smikle 39). The Court argued that the constitution recognized differences and separations based on color, race, ethnicity and other social and political factors, hence the legality of segregation in government-run schools.
Owing the persistence of social divisions and the disproportionately lower level of education among blacks since 1896, the plaintiffs brought up a class action suit against the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas in the US’s Kansas District Court in 1951. The claimants comprised of more than a dozen parents whose who felt that their children had been denied their constitutional rights by the then Topeka School District. The parents’ attempt to register their children in education facilities which were nearest to them was denied on the basis of segregation policy. Their denial of an education opportunity prompted them to seek court’s guidance on the issue (Rose